Summer is around the corner, and while you’ve been bundling up in the winter months, your skin has become a dull shade somewhere between Snow White and Conan O’Brien. There are a number of ways to remedy your pale skin situation, many of which involve baking in harmful UV rays. Using a sunless tanner can give you the effect of bronzed skin without the unsavory side effects. Here’s how to maintain a gorgeous sun-free glow.
Step 1: Select your color
Sunless tanners come in an array of bronze colors and tones. Ideally, you’d be able to test each color on a body part that won’t be seen out in the open, but given that most tanners are purchased from drug store shelves, testing is next to impossible. Instead, start small, with a light shade. If you want your tan to appear like it’s naturally occurring over time, use a gradual tanning lotion. This way, little by little, you’ll start to see color. Plus, gradual tanners help you avoid the harsh streaks that come with heavier, one-time-use sunless tanners.
Step 2: Prep your skin
When applying sunless tanner, you want it to appear as smooth and natural as possible — no Snooki-style streaks. To get the smoothest surface, some preparation needs to happen. First, hop in the shower with a loofah. Dab a dot of skin-smoothing shower gel on the loofah and exfoliate your entire body. Shave your legs if you need to. Make sure there aren’t any dead skin cells or unsightly hairs that will trap sunless tanner’s pigment.
Step 3: Take precautions
Sunless tanner can stain carpets, towels and hands if you’re not careful. First, place an old towel under your application area to catch drips. Use thin plastic gloves to apply your tanner to ensure you don’t get a case of orange palms. If gloves aren’t available, wash your hands thoroughly once you’re finished. Washing with whitening toothpaste or lemon juice can remove any staining.
Step 4: Get to applying
Don’t apply your tanner as you would regular lotion. Go light and make sure the surface gets a nice, even texture throughout. Take extra care around ankles, elbows and knees, as these areas tend to absorb bronzing lotions like a sponge, turning them extra brown. Then, blend, blend, blend!
Step 5: Let it dry
Before putting your clothes back on, let the tanner absorb into your skin. Once it’s dry, let it sit on your skin for at least six hours before showering. Once you see your look start to fade, maintain it by applying a gradual tanning lotion, which will keep your skin glowing throughout the summer with little effort.